Everything happened like clockwork. I made it to BART by 6:50 a.m. and took the train to South San Francisco. My shuttle arrived for the San Francisco Baking Institute at 7:40, which put me arriving at SFBI at 8:10 for an 8:30 start time. Before class, we had pastries and coffee in the break/snack area below.
Class began with personal introductions. Including me, there are 16 people in my class. We are a diverse group of people coming from all corners of the U.S. (New York, Louisiana, Michigan, Texas, California) and abroad (Brazil, Costa Rica). Some of us are being sponsored by corporations. Other students are professionals looking to improve their skill level in certain areas. There are some of us who are simply taking a ‘bakecation’ for enjoyment. And, there are some of us who are baking enthusiasts, hoping that skills we learn here in SF will help us turn our favorite hobby into a career in pastry.
The first part of the day was spent in the classroom. Today we discussed the basic components of pastry recipes (flours, sugars & fats) and how different varieties of these three components affect the end result. After lecture we headed to the lab where our teacher, Juliette, had us demonstrate the effects of different components using a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe. We were split into pairs. Each pair of students was responsible for two batches of cookies. In one batch, the sugar was altered for each group. For instance, one group used only brown sugar while another group used only honey. For the second batch, the fat was altered for each group. Some of the various fats used were butter, margarine, oil, fat substitute-banana, and another fat substitute-apple sauce.
Just by looking at the cookies below, you can see how changing only one ingredient can dramatically change the appearance of the cookie. This is also very true for taste.
After today, I certainly feel as though I have a better understanding of basic ingredients and their characteristics. I left with a notebook full of great information and a stomach full of yummy cookies…..and this is only day 1.